Without doubt the reason any person rejects the truth to continue in the pleasure of sin is based in thoughts arrived at as when one compares apples to oranges. If it were possible without faith to experience a true appreciation for the joy that accompanies salvation with all the attendant attributes, the outcome of the sampling would surely bring about surrender to Christ. Every one would enter after a small sampling of the joy of salvation.
If people could enter by sight instead of faith that would negate the exercise of faith in which we must be found if we are to enter Heaven. Keep in focus the fact the man Jesus had to exercise faith as he sweat drops of blood in the garden. Jesus always did the will of His Father by faith! Faith allows and requires that we place the control of our life on the trading block (John 12:25) as it were. We the saved have the privilege and joy of having God to guide us and to care for our body, soul, and spirit.
Lovers of Self
Going back to an earlier statement concerning people who have a preference for pleasure rather than a desire to please God, we see clear identifying markers. It is apparent in this passage (2 Tim 3:1-7) that these people prefer to control their own lives instead of trading it in on the eternal life that is found in Christ Jesus. In this passage we find that perilous times shall come. Men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent (no self control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Following this list describing what today’s headlines proclaim, we see these revealing words – they have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The first 19 descriptions of this perilous time speak of society that is corrupted horribly. But let’s look at the very worst of all the descriptions – they have a form of godliness (religious). Now look carefully at the second part of that description – they deny the power of God. This speaks of those who hold the truth in unrighteousness as in Romans 1:18. They know and speak the words of Truth but do not submit to Christ as the source for removal of their sin. This is to deny the power of God. In this lack of performance of God’s commandment (I John 3:23) to believe in the authority of the name of Jesus and submit to God’s righteousness, they find themselves in the group of “many” of Matthew 7:22-23. How many of the “many” will have occupied church seats, podiums, or pulpits?
All religious activity have this one thing in common – scratching around in the vileness of human existence outside of God’s divine intervening influence in hope of finding pure love, goodness and forgiveness. All religions find some way that they can take credit for having something to offer God in the way of goodness that will make them acceptable to Him. Pure Christianity honors the work of Christ while rejecting any notion that human effort contributes to that sanctifying finished work of Christ in the saved man or woman.
Any professed Christianity that enters into this stream of thought in which we convince ourselves that we somehow make or keep ourselves acceptable to God is a form of godliness that denies His power. Christ and His finished work alone is our sanctification and our claim to righteousness so far as God the Father is concerned. We never were sanctified or will be kept sanctified by our behavior concerning our salvation – that is the exclusive work done through Christ’s shed blood. In verse six we simply continue a description of the vileness of mankind without God.
In 2 Timothy 3:7, careful examination of the verse is needed to get important information from it. As you attach verse eight to verse seven you see a connection that is important. Sometimes it’s magicians or sleight of hand that confuse and sometimes it is men with a Bible in a pulpit. It would seem that the message relayed here is that these individuals are “religious” perhaps with a Bible tucked under their arm much the same way as those warned of in 2 Peter 3:16 and 17.
A Great Delusion
In the same perilous period of time those who have a love of the truth will be waiting for the return of the Lord to catch them up. When that happens those who are not in the faith will not be taken but left here to suffer under the rule and tyranny of the revealed Antichrist. Unbelievers at that time will be subject to a great delusion sent by God Himself because they did not desire to embrace and love the truth. This delusion is sent that they might believe a lie and be damned. This is brought on themselves because when offered the truth they rejected the truth in order to enjoy the pleasure of unrighteousness. This pattern exists throughout Scripture for those who reject God’s offer of love and will suffer the consequences which God has decreed as punishment for rejecting Him. When examining oneself look to the Scripture and see what life profile fits you. Each and every one of us need to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith or not!
These passages in 2 Peter 3 and 2 Timothy 3 state that some will exhibit a form of godliness but deny his limitless power. This denial will include denying the absolute removal of any charge of sin to the believer’s account as well as many other exhibitions of God’s salvation. Many fall short in understanding the far-reaching grace that God extends to those who will trust in His son whom He sent in order to deliver fallen mankind. The insistence of relying on one’s own ability to deliver oneself from God’s penalty concerning sin will result in the destruction of many. Multitudes will deny His power and refuse to have the Lord Jesus rule over them. This is often found to be the case with religious people who choose to trust the claims of Jesus in conjunction with their own ability to keep themselves in God’s saving grace and faith. In verse 2 Timothy 3:2 some put their life first, especially before God’s desire for the use of their life’s energies, time, and body.
This should not be confused with our responsibility of which I John 3:3 speaks. For we are to purify our walk upon the Earth to match or attempt to match the purity which exists in our spirit. In Titus 2:11-14 we see God has shown His grace of salvation to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world as we watch for the return of our Lord, who by His grace saved us that we might become a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Concerning our standing in Christ, scripture states plainly in Titus 1:12: “unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” These unbelieving do not believe (Hebrews 9:14) concerning the purging or cleansing of the conscience of those who believe and love the truth.
Lastly, there should be displayed in every true believer who loves the truth the attitude spoken of in I Peter 4:1-3. This passage declares that we who are saved should no longer seek to fulfill the lusts of our flesh, but should instead consider the time spent having done so a sufficient amount of evil anti-God pleasure seeking. As Romans 13:11 says it is high time to awake out of our spiritual stupor because the return of the Lord is nearer than we think.